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The future of the Bundesliga title will likely be set after this weekend’s round of fixtures as current league leaders Bayern Munich travel to face second-placed RB Leipzig.

Just four points separate the two sides and for the chasers, anything other than a win will surely hand Bayern another domestic title.

Julian Nagelsmann has his side poised to dethrone Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich at the summit of the Bundesliga and Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash is of grave importance. With Bayern having somewhat of an injury crisis with numerous defensive players out, perhaps this represents the best chance to defeat Bayern.

Even if Leipzig were to get the three points, they would still need Bayern to slip up again before the season’s end as well as continuing to win themselves. That might sound like a tall order but with just one point separating them should they win, anything is possible.

History has shown us that by this time of the season, Bayern has usually wrapped up the title already and thus leaves not much excitement as we head towards the crescendo of the season.

However this campaign, Bayern’s stuttering defence has allowed teams to get at them and that is something surely Leipzig can do come Saturday. This match is essentially where the title will either be won or lost as Bayern simply does not have to succumb to defeat to just about secure the title while for Leipzig, anything other than a win for Leipzig will surely signal the end to their title aspirations.

Either way, this match is simply must watch football as it is rare to see Bayern be pushed this hard for the title. For the neutral, a win for Leipzig would set the Bundesliga alight with interest for the underdog, while a win for Bayern would put an exclamation mark on their status as the undisputed kings of German football.

Borussia Dortmund are not ready to let go of their prized asset anytime soon. A certain ‘goal machine’ in Erling Haaland is proving to be levels far beyond his age and he simply can’t stop scoring at the moment.

Taking his form and potential to dominate the beautiful game over the next decade into account, it is no surprise the best of the very best across Europe are having a go at each other for his signature. As it stands, the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Barcelona and Liverpool have at one point been linked to the Norwegian forward.

Haaland: Europe’s best battle for his signature but can they afford him?

However, all potential suitors would have been put off by the latest report making the rounds on Friday. According to ESPN, Borussia Dortmund have set a staggering €180m asking fee for any club interested in their superstar forward this summer.

The German outfit are no strangers to seeing clubs circle around one of their prized assets. Manchester United spent a good amount of last summer trying to secure a move for another highly rated forward in Jadon Sancho. Borussia Dortmund were unwilling to accept anything below a €120m fee, a decision that saw the Red Devils turn their attention elsewhere, with Donny van De Beek joining the club from Ajax instead.

Similar to last summer, the latest action by Borussia Dortmund was taken specifically to ward off interest from sides like Manchester United and Manchester City, with the Premier League sides believed to be among the most financially competent to sign Haaland.

However, the 20-year-old does have a €75m release clause in his contract, valid from the end of the 2021/2022 campaign. Meaning clubs can simply wait until then and get him for much cheaper. Borussia Dortmund might be condemned to losing Haaland at some point but the idea is to keep him at the club for as long as possible.

Is the transfer decision a smart move by Borussia Dortmund?

However you may look at it, the German side have nothing to lose by demanding such a fee for Haaland’s signature.

Firstly, it must be said that the striking sensation is worth every penny Borussia Dortmund are asking for. We are talking about a player who recently became the fastest ever to reach 20 Champions League goals, alongside being the first to score in six successive matches in the competition.

He might be 36 now, but with 95 goals in 123 games for Juventus, there would be no shortage of suitors should Cristiano Ronaldo choose to leave ‘La Vecchia Signora’ - the Old Lady - at the end of this season.

But has his time in Italy been successful? And are we seeing signs now of a fading warrior?

Ronaldo was signed for €100m in 2018 with the principal aim of bringing continental glory to a team who had become supremely dominant in their domestic league, having racked up 7 consecutive ‘Scudettos’. He recently overtook the great Pele’s long-standing scoring record. A quick-fire hat-trick against Cagliari in March 2021 took his career tally in official matches to 770.

Ronaldo has added 2 more league titles to his impressive career record, but has not won the Ballon D’Or - the most prestigious award for an individual soccer player - since 2017, or - significantly - the UEFA Champions League with Juventus. In each of Ronaldo’s 3 seasons in Italy, Juventus are yet to make it past the Quarter Final stage of Europe’s premier club competition. The Italians were dumped out recently in a surprising defeat to Porto, with Ronaldo himself facing criticism for turning his back on the free-kick which ended up being the decisive goal.

They have scored fewer goals, conceded more and won less games for their title successes since Ronaldo arrived. His record of 1 goal scored from a direct free-kick in 72 attempts makes grim reading for the Portuguese star.

And now, in possibly his final year in Italy, it looks very likely that Juventus will surrender their decade long grip on Serie A.

One thing that is for certain, is Ronaldo’s desire to keep fighting. He was notably silent following the Porto defeat, issuing a defiant message four days later: “More important than the number of falls you take in life, is how fast and how strong you get back on your feet... True champions never break!”

Rumours from Italy suggest that Real Madrid may come back in for their former star. ‘Los Blancos’ have suffered a period of decline since Ronaldo’s departure, unable to fill the gap vacated by his 451 goals (in 438 games). There is also speculation linking him with another return, this time to English fallen giants, Manchester United.

If he is fit, Ronaldo will surely lead his country this summer in their quest to retain the European Championships. However there remains question marks here too, as Portugal is a squad full of young attacking talent.

One thing is for certain, while Ronaldo may be an ageing star, his personal statistics show no suggestion of his powers being completely diminished.

This warrior has one more fight in him, right?

The news of Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being offered a new deal comes as a surprise to soccer fans. Ed Woodward, Vice-president of Man Utd, has reportedly given the nod to extend the contract of the Norwegian. The move is an unexpected one for many reasons.

Manchester United Under Solskjaer

After the club’s dismal match with Leicester in the FA Cup, Ole Solskjaer has been under the scanner. Man Utd’s exit at the group level from the Champions League is another blotch in Solskjaer’s stint with the team.

Those against his extended contract maintain that the Red Devils have not gone past their semifinals stage during his term. And, the 48-year old’s contention that winning cups is just a matter of ego boost for the managers is not sitting well with the team’s supporters. But, there have been some bright points during his term. The Norwegian has ensured the team a solid second place in the Premier League. United has achieved this feat only once before under Sir Alex Ferguson.

In the Europa League, the team is set to take on Granada in next month’s quarter-final match. After failing in the domestic competitions, this tournament is their only hope this season.

Backed By the Board

Ed Woodward, the Man Utd chief has been a strong supporter of Gunnar Solskjaer. According to Daily Mail, Woodward has commended the manager for the progress made by the team under him.

The executive vice-chairman is reportedly convinced of the team being handled well by Solskjaer. Manchester United is the top favorite in the Europa League teams after it trounced AC Milan.

The eight-point lead of the team with West Ham is another point in favor of the way Solskjaer has led the team.

£30m Deal for Solskjaer

When Solskjaer signed his first contract with Man Utd in 2019, he had lost the final two games prior to agreeing to the contract. As per the contract, the Norwegian has one more year left before his term with the club ends in the summer of 2021.

The Old Trafford management is not ready to let go of the 48-year-old. Solskjaer is expected to be granted a new contract for three years. The new deal will cost the club £30m even in the event of the team not winning the cup this season. With an increase in salary from his earlier pay of £7.5 to £10 million per year, the board is looking to bolster the team’s upward spiral under the guidance of Solskjaer.

Despite surprising supporters with the contract, the Old Trafford club is considering the new change to bring stability to the club. News about impending transfers and the controversial departure of Nicky Butt a few days back has forced the club to make decisive moves.

With Manchester City being ahead of them in ranking and boosted by the weak defense put up by Liverpool, Manchester United is looking forward to a better ending this season. The Solskjaer deal may be the right step in this direction for the club.